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Fact Check-L.A. County disqualified 30% signatures in a petition, not 30% of ballots in a recall election

Claims that L.A. County rejected 30% of ballots in a recall race are false. Posts on social media confuse the number of signatures in a petition to vote for the recall of progressive District Attorney George Gascón that were found to be invalid with actual election ballots.

A breakdown provided by the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder showed that most of the invalid signatures were from non-registered voters - who are not eligible to sign a recall petition - or duplicate signatories.

“So Los Angeles county just disqualified 30% of almost 750,000 recall ballots for radical leftist district attorney George Gaston (sic) to save him from a recall election, but they want you to believe that less than 1% of ballots were invalid and the 2020 presidential election. Give me a freaking break!,” reads a Donald Trump Jr. post on Truth Social (here) (archive.ph/lDilJ).

Users have since replicated the text (here) (here) (here) (here).

Don. Jr tweeted a similar message, but saying “ballot signatures” instead of “ballots” (as on Truth Social) (here).

On Aug. 14, the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) informed that the petition to vote for the recall of Gascón had “failed to meet the sufficiency requirements and no further actions shall be taken on the petition.” (here)

After the review and verification of all 715,833 submitted petition signatures, the RR/CC found 520,050 to be valid - short of 566,875 required valid signatures – and 195,783, or 27.3%, were found to be invalid.

WHY WERE THEY REJECTED?

88,464 of the rejected signatures were from non-registered voters and 43,593 were from duplicate signatories, according to the RR/CC. About 1.3% of the total petition signatures were invalid because of a mismatch signature.

See the complete breakdown (here).

The California Secretary of State explains (page 13) (here) that a recall petition must be signed by “registered voters who are qualified to vote for the office of the officer sought to be recalled.”

Mike Sanchez, a spokesman for the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC), told Reuters that unlike ballots “which are issued and returned by registered voters, petition signatures are gathered in a variety of ways in the community.”

In both instances signatures are verified according to California law (here). In a petition, officials compare the submitted signature with that in the voter’s registration record. “The actual registration and residency of the [petition] signer must be verified in addition to or before comparing the signatures. Regulations further require that the address listed on the petition match that of the voter’s registration and that each signer only sign the petition once,” Sanchez said.

For further information about the signature requirements for a petition see (here) (page 11).

BALLOTS IN 2020

According to MIT Election Data Science Lab, the Los Angeles County rejected 0.64% of absentee ballots of in the 2020 general election (see Absentee Ballot Rejection Rate by County (2020)) (here). Statewide, California had a 0.6% rejection rate – slightly below the 0.8% national rejection rate reported by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS) (here) (see page 24). The most common reason for rejection was a non-matching signature (32.8 %).

Reuters has repeatedly debunked claims about voter fraud in the 2020 U.S. presidential election (here), which has been described by U.S. election security officials as “the most secure in American history.”

False allegations of widespread voting fraud made by former U.S. President Donald Trump and his followers have been rejected by courts, state governments and members of his own administration (here).

VERDICT

False. The L.A. County did not reject 30% of ballots in a recall race. The county found that 30% of the signatures submitted in a petition to vote for the recall of a district attorney were invalid, with most being from non-registered voters or duplicate signatories.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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